European commercial real estate investment is at its highest level on record, with overall activity coming to more than €51.5bn in the third quarter of this year, according Cushman & Wakefield.

The figure is 16% up on the same period a year ago.

Annual volumes, the company said, are at €237.8bn – higher than in any previous period and just above the €234.6bn recorded in the third quarter of 2007.

Magali Marton, research director at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Investment activity continues to grow across all markets.

“While the UK, Germany and France continue to attract the biggest share of activity, the strongest growth in volumes has been outside these markets.”

On an annualised basis, the Benelux and Nordic regions posted the strongest growth, Marton said, adding that above-average growth was also evident in Italy and Germany, while France also saw a rebound in activity following a weak second quarter.

“Cross-border investment remains robust, with investment levels showing greater growth than domestic players,” she said.

Close to €75bn (31%) of capital invested on a trailing 12-month basis came from outside Europe.

Over the same period, domestic and European cross-border investors continued to divest, and non-Europeans remain net investors in European commercial real estate.

More capital is now moving away from the UK and central London, the report said, with 36% of non-European investment in UK commercial real estate.

The figure compares with an average of more than 50% over the previous four quarters.

Unlisted funds continue to dominate, representing more than 50% of buy-side activity.

Marton said that, in a continuous low-interest-rate environment, commercial real estate remained an attractive asset class, with the weight of capital showing no signs of slowing.

“With a strong sales pipeline, portfolio and corporate activity,” she said, “we see full-year volumes growing towards the €250bn mark this year, with activity set to be sustained into 2016.”